Volvo D5244 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Volvo D5244 engine!"

The Volvo D5244 offer good returns when tuned and with carefully picked motorsport tuning mods like ECU maps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will positively maximise your driving fun.

In this article we review and look at D5244 tuning and highlight the premier modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the D5244 Engine

This 5 cylinder 2.4 engine came with a variety of power levels and is a great base for your tuning project as they were setup for reliability and lots of scope for improvement.

  • 2.4D I5178 hp D5244T8
  • 2.4L D5 turbocharged I5 (161 hp) D5244T9
  • 2.4L D5 turbocharged I5 (161 hp) D5244T9
  • 2.4L D5 turbocharged I5 (180 hp) D5244T13

Tuning the Volvo D5244 and best D5244 performance parts.

Best D5244 tuning mods

The ultimate D5244 upgrades on an engine are as we have found the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular D5244 upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large engines power gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

Fast road camshafts normally raise the bhp and torque across the rev band, you could drop a little low end bhp but higher rpm power will improve.

Race camshafts, raise the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a typical daily driver should ideally to optimize your torque band to your typical driving style.

You will never have ever asserted that a D5244 Race cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Each engine responds better to mild camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the power gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include:
    Sports exhaust header/manifold, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Intake manifolds, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox.

    Typical stage 2 mods often include:
    Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, fuel pump upgrades, induction kit, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors.

    Typical stage 3 mods often include:
    Engine balancing & blueprinting, Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

    The D5244 engines are great to work on and thankfully there is a lot of upgrades and tuning parts around.

    ECU flashing allows a tuner to establish the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your D5244.

    (In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

    It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but your mileage usually vary depending on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

    Forcing more fuel and air into the D5244 engine is vital to any performance tuning task.

    Air Intake manifolds flow the air from the filter and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

    Design and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big effect on to fuel engine efficiency on the D5244.

    It's not uncommon that plenum chambers are needing performance upgrades, although some car makers provide reasonably well designed plenum chambers.

    Big valve conversions on the D5244, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also lift power, and as an added benefit will permit increasing the power increase on other upgrades.

    D5244 Turbo upgrades

    NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your D5244

    The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes impressive power gains.

    If a car has forced induction parts are giving better power gains and we find turbocharged engines use strengthened components.

    However every engines have limits.Research these limits and fit better quality crank and pistons to cope with the power.

    It's not unheard of mechanics spending a lot of money on turbo charger upgrades on the D5244 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the engine catastrophically fail soon after it's been completed.

    Big upgraded turbos tend to experience no power at low rpm, and smaller turbos spool up much more quickly but won't have the peak end engines power gains.

    Thanks to new tech the choice of turbochargers is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

    Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

    It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the D5244 when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

    You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting bhp and torque at a much lower level.

    Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


    Don't forget to pay attention to the fuel delivery when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. Don't forget to be generous with your injector capacity.

    As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

    We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

    All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

    5 Cylinder turbocharged engines

    • 58 PSI 273cc/min 200hp
    • 58 PSI 409cc/min 300hp
    • 58 PSI 545cc/min 400hp
    • 58 PSI 818cc/min 600hp

    D5244 Performance Exhausts

    You should look to uprate your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

    On most factory exhausts you'll see the flow rate is still ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

    Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow from the engine but do not go too wide or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

    Common exhaust restrictions are in the catalyst installed, so adding a better flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

    Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the D5244

    The D5244 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

    Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

    Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

    Regular oil changes are vital on the D5244, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

    If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your D5244 engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss D5244 tuning options in more detail with our D5244 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Volvo tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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